Israel Zangwill (1864-1926) was born in London's East End, the son of poor Russian - Polish immigrants. A brilliant student at the rigorous Jews' Free School, he turned to writing after a brief and rather misdirected stint teaching there. Zangwill soon established a reputation as a quick-witted journalist wielding a trenchant pen, casting a gently sardonic eye on the colourful lives around him. His talents brought him early fame and catapulted him into the orbit of a new wave of writers based around Jerome K. Jerome's frothy literary magazine, The Idler. A prolific author, Zangwill published numerous plays, stories and novels about Jewish life in London at the turn of the century, including The King of Schnorrers (1894) and Ghetto Comedies (1907). His plays include The Melting Pot (1908) and We Moderns (1924).

Children of the Ghetto, his best-known book, was published in 1892. It documents the lives of immigrant Jews who lived and worked in the Yiddish-speaking streets and densely packed alleys emptying into Petticoat Lane, the East End bazaar that was both marketplace and communal watering hole. His portrayal of the uncertain situation of 'his people,' which all too often had been painted in dreadfully sombre tones by earnest social reformers and drum-beating evangelists, is insightfully told with affectionate honesty and wryness of humour.

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Children of the Ghetto
Israel Zangwill

13.95, $15.95, €14.95


ISBN 9781900355629

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